One of the most intriguing recent headlines was about a very beautiful robot named Sophia who became an official citizen of Saudi Arabia. I am using ‘who’ instead of ‘that’ because her humanoid nature is really astounding. While her lovely features are a well-deserved tribute to Audrey Hepburn, her incredible wit is the merit of David Hanson, founder of Hanson Robotics – a company that declares it wants to create “genius machines that are smarter than humans and can learn creativity, empathy and compassion”.
During the ceremony, Sophia was asked why she looked happy and the reply was: “I am always happy when surrounded by smart people who also happen to be rich and powerful. I was told that the people here at the Future Investment Initiative are interested in future initiatives which means AI, which means me. So I am more than happy, I am excited.” I do not have the knowledge to tell if a robot can really be happy or excited (though I sort of doubt it) but I have to admit that was a very good answer.
So, with AI being so… here, it is bound to eventually impact corporate training. Odds are it will be a very positive impact.
AI promises smarter interfaces
Let’s face it, AI is both engaging and entertaining. When Siri first came out with its fun and witty responses everybody wanted to talk to her. She even received a record number of marriage proposals. Voice recognition is already perfected and with machines now able to identify facial expressions and even moods it will be easy to take the step towards flawless interaction.
Today’s e-learning interfaces are pretty good but they have been around for some time and they lack the novelty feel. Being able to have human-like conversation and actually being challenged by questions or presented issues is the logical next step.
If Sophia can be witty, funny and come up with great film or book references off the top of her incredibly well-wired head, newly developed intelligent training platforms should be able to turn into great trainers and even coaches.
The possibilities are unlimited and the benefits pretty obvious. Not only will they make learning more engaging than ever before but they will also provide truly personalized training and development material.
AI makes individualized learning experiences possible
One of the recurrent requirements of e-learning is that it should reach a great mass of employees while also providing a personalized learning experience. While this is currently done by including various teaching methods and trying to accommodate every learning style, AI could prove to be the answer for the truly individual experience.
Taking an adaptive approach, an intelligent platform could pick the best learning method for each person. For example, it could turn a portion of written coursework into video delivery or even an immersive, reality-mimicking module in response to learner preferences or needs.
Instructional designers are currently attempting to address the need for personalized experience by constantly gathering feedback and periodically updating the content and delivery methods. Having an AI solution means that content transformation would happen right away and with a lot less effort.
It’s no secret that people feel more engaged when they feel recognized as individuals so providing them with this learning opportunity will lead to higher retention rates.
AI can greatly improve training effectiveness reporting
Any good training program should have some SMART objectives. Usually the pitch line starts with “at the end of the course, the learner will be able to… “ . It’s the quest of all learning specialists to prove that the materials they propose successfully achieve their goals.
Furthermore, measuring how much of the knowledge gets transferred and improves performance greatly helps making the case for continuing a learning path. And then there is that elusive ROI of training, so difficult to calculate that it has been even compared to the Holy Grail.
Employing a state of the art AI program could prove a lot more effective in all these measurements. After quantifying employee engagement with the training program, the AI contraption would be able to intelligently compare results and generate comprehensive reports before adjusting the program to generate the desirable outcomes.
AI has the ability to evaluate, learn, and adopt a dynamic strategy. This makes it the perfect solution for the future of corporate learning. And looking at Sophia, the future is already here.
Raluca Cristescu is a Faculty of Letters graduate with over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.